Sarah Rajtmajer is an assistant professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology and a research associate in the Rock Ethics Institute. Before joining the Penn State faculty, Rajtmajer was a consultant to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on scientific programs aimed at breakthrough technologies for national security, with specific focus on initiatives in big data analytics and computational social science.
Prior to her work at DARPA, Rajtmajer was an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory and a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Mathematics at Penn State.
Rajtmajer’s research broadly includes graph theory, game theory, and machine learning, with applications to social and biological phenomena. Recent work aims at characterization and modeling of behavior within evolving social networks both in the abstract as evolutionary games on structured populations and in applied, data-driven scenarios related to privacy decision making, deviance, and abuse. The current focus includes implications of these behaviors for emerging topics in defense and intelligence.
More generally, Rajtmajer is interested in understanding fundamental issues around credibility and reproducibility in big data science. In particular, the large datasets considered in computational social science bring additional challenges as privacy protection dovetails with the usual conversations around methods, reporting and dissemination standards, evaluation and incentives.